Parents and teachers keeping in touch.
It is important to set out how teachers and the parents are going to keep in touch about their child’s progress. If you formally agree how often you will be in touch and what methods you will use to maintain contact, it will really help you build a good relationships with each other and to keep conversations going.
1. Choose the best method of communication
There are a number of ways to stay in touch. Make sure you choose the methods that will work best for all parties, for example, don’t agree to email if you never check your inbox! Here are some ideas for how you could keep in touch.
Home-school books – a simple exercise book where parents and teachers can write down daily events. Parents can scribble down if a child has had a bad night’s sleep, teachers can note achievements or behaviours that day. It is a good record and way to monitor and communicate what is going on each day.
Face to face meetings – a face to face meeting might involve a quick chat at the classroom door in the morning, or a more formal meeting with a number of different staff. It may not be possible to have face to face meetings during Covid19 but in good weather, or in countries where outdoor living is the norm, meetings might be conducted outside.
A quick chat at the door can lead to teachers forgetting what has been discussed, especially if there is line of parents waiting to talk to them! However, a more formal face to face meeting has the benefit of allowing you to easily talk over ideas and concerns. You can also include all relevant staff. It is usual to have a formal face to face meeting once every term or half term.
Online apps instead of face to face meetings – there are a number of online communication tools that can be used for talking face to face. Zoom, Teams and Webex are just three examples. You can record these sessions, which can be helpful if you want to check what was discussed and agreed later.
Online applications (APPS) instead of home-school books – some schools may prefer to use online methods, especially during the pandemic. There are many secure apps that allow written notes to be passed back and forth. Email can also be used for the same daily contact.
Telephone calls – Don’t forget the phone! This is also a good method of communication for many.
2. Agree how often you will communicate.
Agree how often you will both be in touch and write it down so everyone is clear on when you are speaking.
You can agree more than one method of communication. For example, day to day you may communicate using the home-to-school book, and then agree face-to-face meetings twice a term. Alternatively, you might decide to keep in touch through email when needed, with a full review once a year. You can review this continually throughout the year. If you are not keeping in touch as agreed, it may be a sign that things need to be changed. If you feel like things are going well and you do not need daily updates, then you can ask for less information.
3. Remember to confirm what has been agreed.
At the end of each meeting, always repeat what has been agreed to confirm that everyone understands what actions will be taken and who will take them.
Teacher: “Thank you Mrs. Musa, so we will give Jonathon extra time to answer exam questions, and we are happy for him to have a fidget toy. If he needs some time out of class, we’ll take him to sit in a quiet place for 5 minutes. You will work with him at home to make sure he understands he has to tell us when he’s getting agitated.”
Parent: “Thank you Mr Katu, yes, we will work with Jonathon at home to help him remember to tell you when he is feeling stressed. It’s great that will give him extra time to do his tests and let him have a fidget toy. Thank you as well for providing a quiet space for him if he needs 5 minutes to calm down“.
It is a good idea to write down what has been agreed at each meeting, so that everyone can have a copy and be clear about what to do.
Key learning points
~ Choose methods of communication that suit the parent best
~ Agree how often you will be in touch and what methods you will use
~ Make sure every one clear on what has been agreed.